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Are You Properly Communicating with Your First Time Conference Attendees?

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This post was written for etouches by Public Relations Manager of Social Tables Claire A. Harrington, CMP.

Let’s all take the next 30 seconds to think back to the first day of your very first day of high school. Remember the feelings that were coursing through you: excitement for a new opportunity, trepidation about fitting in, confusion about procedure, fear of sticking out…

An attendee’s first time at your conference is no different than that first day of freshman year. You have the power to boost customer loyalty by ensuring they feel prepared and comfortable before, during and after your conference through personalized communications.

In keeping with my cheesy high school theme, new attendees will henceforth be referred to as “freshman”.

Pre-Conference Communication

Virtual Orientation

  • Add a personalized “First Time Registrant” section to your event’s homepage where freshman can learn answers to the most common questions, view a map of the facility, review attendance best practices and access contact information.

Social Networking

  • Create an online community for freshman to engage within before the event happens – a virtual networking room where they can interact with one another. Ensure that your staff monitors the room frequently to answer any questions.

Pick Up the Phone

  •  If the size of your event allows it, make a personal call to each freshman, introducing yourself, offering assistance with questions, and providing them with personal contact information.

On-Site Communication

Host a Freshman Welcome Reception

    • You want your conference to be memorable, so start off with a pep rally of sorts: invite all freshman to a brief reception the night before your conference opens where they can meet their peers, engage with speakers, and speak with seasoned conference staff.

Provide an Orientation Tour

    • If your venue is confusing, seize this opportunity to provide excellent customer service by providing an intimate tour of the grounds. A bonus of this activity is obtaining important research that can be used to plan future events by asking freshman questions such as, ‘Why did you decide to attend?’ ‘What are your expectations? How did you hear about us?’

Designate a Freshman Lounge

    • Your objective with this lounge should be to provide an engaging oasis wherein freshman can connect with one another, hold a meeting or speak with a member of your events staff.

Post-Conference Communication

Snail Mail Your Thank You

    • Don’t type it. Write it. Yes, it is time consuming. Yes, it’s inefficient. That’s why you should do it. Every freshman on the receiving end of that note will understand how much time you had to put into their note, and that effort will stay ingrained in their minds for much longer than a form email.

Email a ‘Happy Graduation’ Survey

    • Make your post-conference survey fun by giving it a graduation spin. “Congratulations on surviving your first conference! We are committed to making sure next year’s class is as prepared as possible, so we would love if you could fill out this survey for us…”

The lesson for today is merely this: you can never communicate too much, you can never be too personal, and you can never go wrong by providing carefully thought out customer service that goes above and beyond the expectations of your guests.

 

Social Tables, the award-winning provider of hospitality software, delivers the most dynamic diagramming and guest management platform on the market. The industry leading company consistently aids its 1,600 customers in achieving their sales and operational objectives. The company’s diverse list of clientele ranges from hotel chains such as the Hyatt Hotel Corporation to academic special events teams from Harvard Business School to corporate meeting teams such as Goldman Sachs.

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